(Washington, DC) – Mayor Adrian M. Fenty on Wednesday unveiled the draft St. Elizabeths East Redevelopment Framework Plan, a comprehensive redevelopment strategy for the 173-acre District-controlled campus along Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue in Ward 8.
“The St. Elizabeths East Campus is truly one of our greatest untapped resources,” said Mayor Fenty. “This plan builds on the campus’ tremendous history and will eventually become a major anchor for reinvestment and regeneration in Ward 8.”
St. Elizabeths was originally two campuses that straddled Martin Luther King Avenue, SE and functioned as a self-contained mental health community beginning in the 1850s. The East Campus was transferred to the District 1987 as part of the federal deregulation of mental healthcare. The federally-controlled 183-acre West Campus is being proposed by the General Services Administration (GSA) to be the new headquarters of the Department of Homeland Security. The federal redevelopment plans for the West Campus call for the adaptive reuse the existing historic buildings and grounds and the construction of new buildings and parking.
To complement the GSA’s plans for the West Campus, the District’s Office of Planning led a comprehensive planning process to provide more detailed strategy for how the District should respond to current development, transportation, historic preservation and sustainability challenges facing the East Campus site. The District’s new plan – created in concert with an intense community engagement process – aims to build on the site’s tremendous history and support stronger connections to the surrounding community.
The District plan proposes the creation of five neighborhoods, each with its own character. It calls for opening up the East Campus to connect with existing neighborhoods and to provide improved open spaces and anticipates a mix of housing, retail and office space.
Additionally, the District’s plan contemplates using land on the northern portion of the site for office space and parking for the Department of Homeland Security. When built out to its full potential, the East Campus could accommodate more than 2 million square feet of new development and more than 750,000 square feet redevelopment of historic buildings.
A draft of the District’s plan is available on the Office of Planning web site (planning.dc.gov). The District will host a public hearing on the proposed plan on October 28th on the East Campus. The plan will be submitted to the DC Council for approval in early November.